Cancer doesn’t just affect the person who experiences it in their body. It also affects their family members and caregivers. Not only is stress a risk factor for cancer, going through the treatment process or supporting someone you love through that process also brings stress. It can turn into a viscous circle.
As women head into their 40s and 50s they often fear developing breast cancer even though the risks of heart disease are much higher. Studies have shown that psychological stress is linked to breast cancer aggressiveness – yet another reason why we should take action to manage our stress at menopause.
Tsonwin Hai, researcher at Ohio State University says, “If your body does not help cancer cells, they cannot spread as far. So really, the rest of the cells in the body help cancer cells to move, to set up shop at distant sites. And one of the unifying themes here is stress.”
My guests on the Hot Women Rock Radio Show this week, David Dachinger and Tamara Green, have been through the cancer journey. Together they have created a mindful wellness stress reduction program to empower cancer patients, survivors and caregivers with self-love and self-care on their healing journey, from diagnosis to survivorship.
David and Tamara’s Journey
David and Tamara were childhood sweethearts. After some early challenges, they finally married in 1994. In 2014 David was working as a firefighter and Tamara as a psychotherapist. Their (then) 13-year-old son was diagnosed with Lyme disease and four days later, in a head and neck surgeon’s office, they heard the six words that changed everything… “David, you have stage IV cancer!”
Both David and Tamara had practised mediation for many years prior to his diagnosis. David knew that to give his body the best chance to overcome the cancer he needed to reduce his stress. He found himself meditating during chemotherapy sessions or listening to positive mantras to keep his spirits up. Tamara carried on enjoying yoga, practicing mindfulness and eating a healthy diet.
‘There are so many misconceptions about meditating’, David said. ‘It’s not necessarily about sitting cross-legged and chanting. You can meditate anywhere at any time just by focusing on your breathing and being mindful.’
‘During David’s treatment,’ Tamara added, ‘I would take odd minutes to meditate and bring myself back to the moment to calm myself. I might be doing the washing-up and I would take time to feel the warmth of the water, or the texture of the bubbles or the smell of the soap. Or when I was driving to the hospital I would focus on the temperature and texture of the steering wheel, the scenery going past and singing along to the radio. That is every day mindfulness that relieves stress.’
Choosing to focus on the gifts rather than the difficulties, they stayed calm, grateful, and even optimistic, with David avoiding serious health complications from his treatment. This sparked David’s oncologist to ask what they were doing to remain so upbeat. “Whatever it is,” he said, “I want that for all of my patients and families!” It was a ‘light-bulb moment’ and Loving Meditations was born.
Now veterans of the cancer odyssey and fueled with heartfelt passion, David and Tamara are committed to paying it forward to those touched by cancer. Their unparalleled expertise in multiple areas combined with their deeply personal stage IV cancer experience makes them uniquely qualified beyond any other players in the industry. Besides bringing maturity, compassion, and commitment to excellence in everything they do, their products and programs are ‘spot on’ in all regards. The powerful combination of ‘who they are, what they do, and what they have been through’ benefits anyone who is touched by their Loving Meditations offerings.
Top Tips for Relieving Stress
- Practice gratitude. Focus on what you are grateful for every day.
- You can start to meditate at any stage of your life. Every moment of the day is an opportunity to practice mindfulness.
- Create little rituals to slow down your mind. It could be something as simple as making a cup of tea or coffee, or going for a walk.
- Assess where the stress in your life is coming from and, if it’s not yours, return that energy to its rightful owner. Separate yourself from other people’s stress.
- Focus on what you can control.
- Practice self-care. Acknowledge your successes and achievements, big and small. Reward yourself for the little things you achieve each day such as getting out of bed and getting to work on time.
- Use a loving energy to cure any fear that you are feeling such as curiosity, gratitude, and self-compassion.
You can meet David and Tamara at the Oncology Conference at the NEC, Birmingham on 15-16 September 2021.
If you need help reducing or controlling your stress talk to me about how I could help you.